Monday, December 8, 2014

Hiatus

Taking a hiatus from the blog. I don't know how long it will be. Have fun on the internet or something.
Oh, happy belated second anniversary, by the way. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Why Derek Landy is my favorite author

http://dereklandy.blogspot.com/2014/11/may-be-unsuitabledistressing-for.html

Monday, November 3, 2014

I'm a chicken

I have been very, very busy lately. Between college apps, normal writing, learning how to use the drawing program I found that ACTUALLY WORKS (YAAAAAAY!) and keeping up with schoolwork and friendships, I've had an exhausting few weeks. I'm also trying to work up a writing portfolio for college scholarships, which is frickin' hard. I have about eight different stories I want to write before my last deadline and no time to write them in.

Which is why I'm once again not doing NaNoWriMo this year, even though I said I would.

But that doesn't mean I'm not writing. My goal is to write at least 2,000 words a day, but I'm not going to limit myself to one project. I'm going to work up and edit a whole lot of short stories and essays, as well as hopefully finishing a few longer projects I've started.

I AM starting a new story, a longer project I came up with a while ago. It's definitely new territory for me...and I have ideas for a couple short stories series, which will probably go up on my other blog, so look out for those.

Meanwhile, I am having lots of fun with FireAlpaca, the drawing program I mentioned. Look what I drew my dad for his birthday!

It's Freddy the Pig fan art! 

And here's a cartoon for the school newspaper that unfortunately did not make it in because the school email was being stupid and I couldn't make the deadline.

It was going to be an illustration for an article on typing notes versus writing them.

And THIS is a picture of my fictional character Igor dipping someone else's fictional character Max:



Off-panel: Max's boyfriend thinking "Please don't drop him."

Anyway, hopefully I'll have something for my other blog soon. See ya!

Monday, October 20, 2014

It's been a really good day

I am amazingly happy right now. The thing that I thought was impossible happened. IT HAPPENED. And I keep checking to make sure it's true, because WOW! I just...I've been alternating between bundle of nerves, trembling with shock, laughing, almost crying, and trying to express inexpressible joy in these feeble sounds and symbols we call words. It's not nearly enough, but it's all we've got. So make the most of your words! Shout to the sky! Write poetry or prose or whatever the hell you want! Try to express that inexpressible joy bursting through your heart, try futilely, beautifully, clumsily, just TRY IT! Because...what you think is impossible might not be. What you think can never happen might happen if you give it a chance. 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

A Really Bad Limerick and a Failed Triolet

There once was a mad scientist
Who, perusing his extensive client list,
Discovered to his dismay
His latest death ray
Was built for his nemesis's podiatrist.

*****

This started off as a triolet
But something went wrong and I must admit
I'm not quite sure how I feel about it
But this started off as a triolet
Then it took its own reigns and it ran with it
And I'm not really sure where the path did split
But this started out as a triolet
And apparently I can't write poetry for s***
So I put down my pen and I say "Screw it
I might as well just learn how to knit
I'm bloody well done with this poetry s***
I QUIT!"

(But this started out as a triolet.)

Monday, September 29, 2014

New Blog!

Hey guys.

I've got kind of a lot going on right now. Just started my senior year of high school, and not only do I have a buttload of college stuff to deal with, but the schedule drastically changed and my favorite teacher left. The transition has been...less than smooth.

Nevertheless, I am working on a very important post that should be up sometime this week. So check back soon.

And I started another blog!

It's called Oddments and Wonders, and you can find it right here. (I kept part of my signature "rowanboookworm" url, complete with the extra o in book.)

Oddments and Wonders is strictly for my creative writing--poems, stories, essays, stuff like that. I'm going to put a lot of stuff up on there, partly to give colleges a chance to see it if they want to, but also because I want to share it with you guys. I really hope you like it! So far the only thing up there is a poem I wrote at Kenyon, but that will change soon. (It might even change later tonight if I feel like posting something else.)

I think that about wraps that up. Check back later this week for an internet social justice post. See ya!

UPDATE: Unfortunately I'm not going to be able to finish the post I promised you guys. Frankly, it was making me nauseous to write it. But it was about Sam Pepper and if you want to know more go here. That was my main info source anyway...sorry.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Goodbye, Sammy. I'll never forget you.

My mom had a 30% off gift card at Vroman's, so we went and got a lot of books on Saturday. And one of the books I picked up was Sammy Keyes and the Kiss Goodbye.

I read the whole thing that afternoon and it pretty much ripped my heart out.

It's hard to say goodbye.

In case you don't know, the Sammy Keyes series is a series of eighteen books intended for middle school readers, written by Wendelin van Draanen. (Anyone here see the movie Flipped? That was based off of something else she wrote.) Sammy Keyes follows this amazing heroine, who is unsurprisingly named Sammy Keyes, through seventh and eighth grade. They take place about a month apart, and they're all mysteries. Sammy never thinks of herself as a detective, but that's really what she is--she's a fierce, brilliant adventurer and detective. Personally, I think she'd make a great P.I. when she grows up.

WARNING: MINOR SPOILERS MAY BE AHEAD. I'll try not to spoil anything too major, though.

The basic premise is that Sammy is this seventh grade kid who keeps getting involved in mysteries. Part of it is that she's curious, and once she's involved she can't let something go. She's brave and fierce and she frequently makes bad decisions. She also has a hard time getting to places on time. There's a reason the other characters call her "Sidetrack Sammy."

Sammy lives with her grandmother in a government-subsidized building--in which minors are not allowed. So she has to sneak up and down the fire escape and spend a lot of time away from home and generally do a lot of sneaking. This also creates tension whenever Sammy runs into the police, because if they find out about her living situation, she and her grandma are stuck.

The reason Sammy lives in the government building? Her flakey mother is off in Hollywood, trying to become an actress. Lady Lana (Sammy's mother) is actually one of my favorite characters to read about, largely for her sheer insufferableness. (I'd hate Lana in real life.)

Because of her living situation, Sammy really tries to keep the police from getting involved in stuff. But that's a bit hard with Officer Borsch, a by-the-rules Javert type policeman, on her tail. Sammy just seems to rub Officer Borsch the wrong way, especially in the earlier books. The first time they met, he gave her a ticket for jaywalking. But he goes through some truly well-done character development as the series progresses

Here are some things I love about Sammy Keyes (both the character and the books):

--Sammy is not a perfect person. She slacks off on her homework, lies left and right, jaywalks ALL THE TIME, and frequently runs afoul of the police--well, one police officer in particular. Officer Borsch is also a great character with a lot of amazing development!

--But Sammy always stands up for what is right, and when she makes mistakes she (eventually) admits to them and pays for them. I mean, the third book has her doing twenty hours of detention for using and abusing the school's PA system. TWENTY HOURS. That's a lot.

--The books are really funny. Sammy's got a great sense of humor. She's very sarcastic and she gives things and people little mental nicknames, especially if she doesn't know their real names (the Splotter, the Crocodile, Camo Butt, etc.). Billy Pratt, one of Sammy's classmates, is introduced in one of the later books, and he provides great comedy relief as well. Seriously, I love Billy. He's such a goofball!

--But van Draanen isn't afraid to get serious. In the fifth book, Sammy Keyes and the Curse of Mustache Mary, Sammy tangles with drug dealers and busts a meth lab. She's in seventh grade at the time. In the seventh book, Sammy Keyes and the Search for Snake Eyes, she gets involved in gang business. Sammy also faces her own internal issues, such as her feelings about her mother's abandonment and the fact that she doesn't know who her father is.

--The books help teach the readers about serious issues, like drug abuse, abandonment, gang violence and bullying, without being boring or preachy. Instead of just saying "Don't do this," van Draanen really shows you why you shouldn't do this, and also why it might seem like a good idea at the time when it's not in the long run.

--Not everything is about Sammy. There are times when Sammy's friends rally and support her during emotional crisis, but there are also--probably more often--times when Sammy has to focus on and support them. This especially happens with her best friend Marissa, who has a destructive crush on a jerk called Danny. Marissa and Sammy's relationship is deep and complicated and it rings true to life. They're similar enough to get along and different enough to play off each other in really funny ways. Marissa's a lot more emotional than Sammy, and I'd say that Sammy's quite a bit tougher than Marissa.

--The relationship with Heather Acosta is always interesting. Heather Acosta is pretty much the Draco Malfoy of the series. She's Sammy's classmate and, for reasons of her own, she hates Sammy. Their relationship kicks off with a bang in the first book, when Heather pokes Sammy with a pin and Sammy punches Heather in the nose, and it goes more or less downhill from there.

--But in a lot of ways Heather is understandable. Yes, she's a massive jerk, but van Draanen examines Heather's emotions and motivations, especially in some of the later books. She has reasons for what she does, and her bitterness is deep and complex. (That said, she's still a wonderfully petty villain who you love to hate.)

--There's a touch of romance, especially in the later books, but it doesn't overtake the plot. And it is totally believable and adorable. Through the story, van Draanen manages to develop one of those insane situations where it makes perfect sense when you're reading the books, but if you try to explain to someone they'll probably get lost. I love those.

I found Sammy Keyes in seventh grade, and I got to it in kind of a roundabout way. I picked up a different book by Wendelin van Draanen, a book called Runaway. Runaway follows the story of Holly, a twelve-year-old girl escaping from an abusive foster home and making her own way across the world. The book had a huge impact on me, and it's still one of my favorites. It is absolutely beautiful and I highly recommend it.

At the back of the book van Draanen had written an afterword. I read it and got confused, because it referenced the Sammy Keyes series. (Sammy appears near the end of Runaway.) Then I realized that Holly had started out as a character in Sammy Keyes--she shows up in the third book, Sammy Keyes and the Sisters of Mercy. I really loved Holly and I wanted to read more about her, so I picked up a Sammy Keyes book, figured out which was the first one, and started from there.

And I think it was at about the third one when I fell in love. Holly is still one of my favorite characters, by the way. She shows up a lot and she's amazing.

So thank you, Holly, for being so strong and amazing and for guiding me to Sammy. And thank you, Sammy, for making me laugh and helping me figure out what's wrong and what's right and for being your brilliant self. I will never, ever, ever forget you.

And there's always rereading.